Reinvention of the Writing ‘stay at home’ Mum

sunset 004
Sunset Hibiscus – June Perkins

Ever been through a process of reinvention?

I have been thinking a lot about this lately.  After completing a PhD at the University of Sydney six years ago I was tired.  I had done this with three kids, several house moves,  a year off studies to work full time, and my hubby being a student for much of it also.  I had been trying to be superwoman and it had been tough.  I have to say my house was rather messy during this time and we lived nowhere near extended family either.  The kids went to childcare sparingly as I wanted to see as much of them as I could whilst they were growing up.

I needed a rest ! When I say a rest, I mean some time to be with family and in a way myself.  Luckily my dear partner got a regular job as a teacher, and I was able to take a break from studies and paid employment.  It was like taking a deep breath to think about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life.

We moved to the country in the midst of all this – and my time of reinvention was punctuated by being in a town with few paid opportunities for a tertiary trained teacher, and limited choices in employment.  I was probably ready to do paid work around three years ago but it’s taken a while to realise what sort.

I have come to know that the paths open to me in the country lie in business, retraining to be a highschool teacher or even arts counsellor,  making it as a writer/freelancer.  There is one other option and that is to leave for a university town and return to the tertiary sector.

I stand at a cross roads, with the experience of having been through a cyclone, coordinating community writing projects and on the verge of doing my first solo book and photography projects.

I am pretty certain I don’t want to teach highschool or primary, although I don’t mind guest spots to come and work with youth mentoring particularly in creative things.

Sometimes people don’t understand I can’t volunteer anymore, but need to build a future for my family – and move into regular paid work and business.  I may even do both.  When I am older and more established or if I make it big time I can give back more.  This is the prime of life to be earning and building something to retire from paid employment later.  As I move away from the voluntary sphere I hope people understand that does not lessen my love for community.

How long have women struggled to have access to the freedom and independance of paid work?

Yet, the work, homelife, spiritual balance has been crucial to my well being.  I don’t regret my time out to know my family and myself.  In that crucial time I have not stopped contributing to my community and my family.  I have been the writing stay at home mum who loves to take photographs everywhere.  Whilst some laugh at me, even ask what on earth are you doing, I know privately that my command of my camera has improved and that I love it and will always take pictures now.  I can’t imagine not working at the art of photography.

I have also – done three community writing projects, mentored kids at camps, given workshops, tutored, been involved in my kids schools  and lives and learnt heaps about myself and others.  I say this because I know many other so called stay at home mums, like myself  who don’t stay at home at all.   We are based at home but we actively contribute to the community and our families.

I have been both supermum and stay at home Mum and somewhere at the end of all of the being wife and mother I am June who loves to write, take photographs and make digital arts.  I recognise that I am so privileged to have a chance to get to know myself and others in my six years of so called slowing down (:

I hope the world will accept me for who I am and what I can offer and I am glad to be finding my way with the help of other bloggers and through the opportuntiies writing has offered me.

The time of reinvention is here!  It is both exhilirating and scary, as my children move out into the world, so does their Mum.  How many other Mums and people out there are going through this journey?

Would love to hear from you!

(c) June Perkins

10 thoughts on “Reinvention of the Writing ‘stay at home’ Mum

  1. I’m in much the same position and have done the same – put my foot down and said no to yet more volunteer work. People say that what I do is valuable and want me to do more. If it is that valuable then I should be paid for it! If I can’t get paid for it, then people don’t really find it valuable and I should be doing something else.

    “This is the prime of life to be earning and building something to retire from paid employment later.”

    You said it!

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  2. As ever, a beautifully written piece June – I used to feel ‘guilty’ about the time I had spent at home being with my children, the stay-at-home-mum, but my now grown children pointed out that I didn’t “just” stay at home – like you I did an inordinate amount of voluntary work in the community which we all gained from I must say – I think very few stay at home mothers do only that, shame that it is not recognised as valid paid work in and of itself. It is difficult to take that step into your own life, as it were, after being a stalwart of the community for so long, you have expressed it so well – it is the right time indeed!

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  3. Thanks Jill for your thoughts, I am so blessed to have some very special mentors around the corner who are encouraging me to take this step, and to move forward – one has written me a beautiful reference for ‘paid employment.’ I value the mothering role and the contribution we can in our own right make to society through all we have to offer, eventually the children fly the nest and the learn so much from mothers doing not just saying, would love to be a special role model in all ways to my daughter and my sons – so they too value the many varied roles a woman can take at different times in her life.

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  4. Yes, the transition time seems to be challenging, one should not feel guilty for wanting to earn some income, it is after all put to the benefit of family and building for the future, and yet somehow one can be made to feel like that is not okay, yet how important is it to truly have the ability to support ones family if anything, God Forbid, should happen to ones partner.

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  5. Hi Jill, I”m glad to ‘meet’ you and I am currently on a similar journey….. I like the idea of reinventing ourselves and our roles — it can be tough sometimes to get all the cogs lined up and I think accepting they probably will never be all lined up is the secret!

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  6. Nice words June. You’ve described the female dilemma really well. I’m still a working super mum but there are times that I am tired (like now). I sometimes feel that I’m a better mom due to working because I have an outlet that I wouldn’t have at home.

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  7. Yes, Tammy I am moving back into super mum territory and finding that tiredness sometimes is path of the course, but my kids are actually encouraging me and saying you could get that job Mum, go for it and like you say when we are happy the family is happy.

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  8. So true Sharni, impossible to line those cogs up, and sometimes I think we do put so much expectation on ourselves, but attempting balance allows us to at least remember what is important and not have one thing take over. I still remember the relief when I finished my studies – and not having that cog in the wheel certainly helped me find other things like the love of photography and my devotion to creative writing.

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  9. Well put June, as you know I’ve entered that sphere of stay at home Mum and trying to work from home, and volunteer work, and it is work to keep the balance! We do so much yet are so hard on ourselves, we need to give ourselves the credit for balancing so much. Good luck!

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